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Mona Farrokhi: I continued to write and let go of my inner critic

Up on a hill lies a special place that exists in a realm of its own.

It sits between reality and fantasy, and in this place, time and space purely exists for the writer to write. Affectionately known as ‘Katharine’s Place’ or ‘KSP’, writers arrive full of words aching to be free.

As a writer, trying to find that elusive balance that many of us crave between life’s obligations and honouring our souls desires is not an easy feat. However, KSP provides an environment that effortlessly accommodates and influences us to reach into the ether of ourselves and enter our flow state.

I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in this magical world where my only responsibility was to be enchanted and create. It was such a privilege to be able to purely focus on my manuscript, and not be overcome with the associated feelings of guilt that I should be ‘doing something else’.

When I first arrived at my cabin, I jumped up and down, did an awkward dance and screamed a little. After I calmed down, I went for a walk around the gardens and introduced myself to the bees. I also popped by to say hello and have a cuppa with the Writer-in-Residence, Rebecca Higgie. We continued to check in with each other every day and shared many discussions around writing, books, life and everything in between!

I expected that being on draft two of my manuscript would mean that I was going to be cutting words. I was wrong. I added words and reinvented chapters. I started berating myself for the increase of words, which is where the daily check ins with Rebecca helped. I was reminded that I was only on draft two, and that this was a positive thing to do.

That’s when I realised the spirit of KSP was working its magic! After all, if the solitude of the cabin, filled with the music of native birds singing their songs, inspired more words than I had originally intended, then those words had to be written!

So, I continued to write and let go of my inner critic.

The fellowship provided me with the opportunity to really get to know myself as a writer (my habits, my routine and my inner critic), which is not something I could have done as easily in my real life. For example, I now know for certain that I am definitely not a morning writer.

Thank you so much KSP. I am grateful for the experience, which I proudly take with me as I continue my writing journey.

I will forever remember typing with the echoing of raindrops on the cabin roof, opening the door to listen to the birds sing and savoring the time I had to just purely be a writer.

Top 10 Tips

1. Call yourself a writer. Claim the title. Once you claim it as part of your identity, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities and in turn, you will (hopefully) see your own potential.

2. Stay curious! Always be open to learning new things about the craft of writing. In all its forms and techniques. Explore and enjoy the beauty of it.

3. Think about your own writing habits. What times of the day do you work best? If you are lucky to stay at KSP and believe that having the time and space means you will be writing non-stop, don’t forget that you are still the same human you were before you left reality and entered KSP. Everyone is different – you may need a little time to adapt to your new world and that’s ok.

4. Words not flowing? Try dancing in your cabin. Thank me later.

5. Be kind to yourself. Always. Try not to listen to your inner critic. Most of the time, they are lying to you.

6. Don’t be afraid of getting your work out there. If you or your work doesn’t ‘feel’ ready, then maybe it’s not the right time. Just make sure you learn the difference between fear and being your own obstacle.

7. If you are at KSP and the silence becomes overwhelmingly loud, use it.

8. If you are at KSP, speak with the other writers who are also staying there. It’s so important to support each other and your fellow writers in the writing community. I cannot stress this enough! In general as a writer, find your community. Even if you only ever connect with just one other writer, it helps to have someone who understands how important writing is to us. Keep each other accountable. Writing groups that provide constructive feedback can also be very helpful!

9. If you are at KSP and don’t feel like writing, take a break and read instead. Listen to music or a podcast. Go for a walk. Say hello to the bees. Inspiration is everywhere if you are open to it.

10. Write as much as you can, whenever you can. But, don’t forget to stop every now and then to just breathe.

Mona Farrokhi, KSP Fellow - July 2023


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